Grandes Gingersnap may have had some conformation issues – her legs were not exactly straight – but that didn’t stop the Quarter Horse mare from being one of the most successful Ontario breds in the late 1980s.
What was even more special about this May 1-born foal of 1985 was the group of friends she brought together during her racing career.
Ed Walton, former Quarter Horse jockey who has his own breaking and training business for Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds, says Ginger was the horse who changed his life.
A sorrel-coloured daughter of the stallion Oh Grande Oh, Grandes Gindersnap was bred by Jack Morrison and owned by Gary Convery, a horse-lover who opened Pleasure Valley theme near Uxbridge, ON complete with horse trails. Ed entered the picture when the filly needed to be broken to saddle and then ridden. Rick Kennedy was hired to train and from there a close group of four was created.
“I think she was the most competitive horse I ever rode,” said Walton. “But more importantly, she brought some great people together: her trainer Rick Kennedy, owner Gary Convery and myself all became great friends, we were very close.”
Ginger was a stakes winner as a 2-year-old but it was in her 4-year-old season that she blossomed, winning nine of 11 races. She was named Horse of the Year at Picov Downs in 1989. In total, Ginger won 21 of 48 races and was ridden every time by Walton.
Convery passed away in 2005 but Kennedy is still involved in racing at Ajax Downs as is Walton.
“Gary always joked that the Seabiscuit story reminded him of us,” said Walton. “A jockey too big and a horse nobody wanted, she was very crooked. But she just brought us all together.”
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